Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Energy on Military Installations

On June 5, 2007 the CAN Corporation held a panel discussion called “Energy on Military Installations.”[1]

The moderator was Lisa Wright, from office of Congressman Bartlett, a leading Peak Oil advocate. Below I give some important parts from the transcript and accompanied presentations. [my comments are in brackets]

Dr. Get Moy, director of installations requirements and management directorate, DOD:

“if the department wants to do more in terms of its energy performance, it has to probably do a lot more on jet fuels.”

Bill Taylor, director of the Department of Navy Shore Energy Office.

“We’re very proud of our geothermal program. We have two awarded. We’re working on our third and fourth right now production project. The first one at China Lake is 270 megawatts and has 166 wells out there, 200,000 linear feed, enough electricity to supply 180,000 homes. Our second one was Fallon, Nevada, starting at 30 megawatts…. but it should go up bigger…. we’re looking at El Centro and the Chocolate Mountain Ranges. This is all done through public/private ventures. And they’re just on test ranges.

ocean power is a burgeoning technology. We have off of Kaneohe, Hawaii a wave power buoy. The second generation, I was just told, was just put into the water. We have another deal with the magnetic linear wave generation with the Oregon State University. We had a project on ocean cooling for refrigeration, one on ocean thermal energy conversion ..... The Navy is interested in ocean power because we have a long history of dealing with the ocean, and lots of islands out there and lots of Navy bases onshore. And I’m really looking at this as a future technology that should help us in great way.

every year we have higher and tougher energy goals, not enough money. I think we’ll probably all be talking about not enough money. The costs of renewables are still high. The Department of Defense has a 25 percent reduction goal – 25 percent of our electricity consumed by 2025 has to come from renewables.”

[in Q&A session] “Navy added energy to all of the prospective commanding officers’ courses, so that as they switch from maybe a line duty into running a base, they are aware of what energy is and what they are supposed to do.


Awards, a little of the carrot, secretary of Navy energy award winners in different categories every year. We have a very fancy award ceremony where they get to shake the hands of the secretary of the Navy or the assistant secretary. And that really means a lot to the folks.


Our goal is to have a contractor on every base, and resource-efficiency manager. His job is to identify energy projects and implement them. And he has a goal; he has to come up with savings to twice – save his salary. That is an incentive. If he doesn’t deliver, he is fired.”

Don Juhasz, chief of utilities and energy programs for the United States Army.

“we have now grown to $1.2 billion annually in our installations energy bills. Probably about $300,000 of that is absolutely wasted because we do things that are not smart; we do things that are very wasteful; we do things because we as a government feel that we don’t have accountability, and because the taxpayer pays it, we don’t have to deal with it. And therefore, we have a number of different policies and issues that are not implemented and not used successfully. But overall, we still have reduced our consumption.” [he seems to be a true believer of energy conservation and peak oil, also a very pleasant person].

“we’re not going to have oil forever…..We’re consuming it in incorrect percentages for which we have it. ….we’re not finding stuff very fast anymore because we’ve found most of the stuff. In the first 75 years of the last century, we consumed 25 percent of the known oil reserves. In the last 25 years, we’ve consumed another 25 percent. So in the last 100 years, we’ve consumed 50 percent of what the world’s known oil reserves are….. if we continue at the rate we’re consuming right now, we’ll consume the balance of the 50 percent of the world’s oil reserves in the next 25 years. That’s a problem….All our platforms, all our weapons systems depend upon oil to be able to sustain ourselves.

we’re going to basically run out of oil. [this is very wrong. Peak oil does not mean running out of oil]

At some point in time, what the oil world is consuming is going to equal or exceed what the world’s ability to supply it is. We can only pump it out of the ground so fast. And as the oil fields get older and older, they can’t go as fast….There is going to be a point at which the demand of the world exceeds the ability to supply that.

Now, there are a lot of people that disagree when that’s actually going to happen. These are the different people on different sides of the show. You can always be on either side. You pick a side whether it’s going to happen or it’s not going to happen. But it doesn’t matter whether it’s going to happen or not happen. …..if it really does happen and we’re really wrong, what a significant risk; what a significant devastation to our way of life. But if we’re on the other side, and we say that it is going to happen, that it’s going to happen very soon, and we start doing what we can do now to change that, there we’ll be ahead in terms of the ballgame.

Where is the risk? The risk is if we’re wrong, we’re ahead of the ballgame. You guys have got to switch anyway because eventually we’re going to run out of oil. But if we’re right, we could mitigate and lower the consequences of that…..we need to come up with a plan where we can make a difference. Either you’re part of the problem or you’re part of the solution. There is no middle ground in this defense. There is no sitting on the fence.” [well, you can be also ignorant
and sit on the fence]

[some of his recommendations] increase the efficiency; reduce dependency on fossil fuel by introducing some renewable, renewable waste; quit, eliminate, reduce those things that “we’re doing that are simply silly. We run things 24/7. We’ve got to stop leaving things on and using things when it doesn’t need to be.”

quit stressing “the aquifers (where we use potable water to water grass). You think the water cares if it’s potable or not? It grows green whether it’s potable or not. But we as engineers don’t do a very good job of designing and we waste lots of it. We make it condensate of our chillers; we dump it down the sewers. Absolutely silly, but we do that because we haven’t gotten smart.”

“we’ve got to increase our energy security by reducing the demand, reducing the efficiency of other things we use – green energy conservation by reducing the waste what happens when we have, and then converting over to alternative fuel sources so that we’re not dependent on one particular medium.”

[also his some good remarks in Q&A session]

“Some people will do the right thing for the right reason because most of us will do that. Some of us require some type of a negative reinforcement. Most of us, because we’re energy zealots, will do it because it’s the right thing to do. The rest of us require some type of a consequence rather than a carrot.”

“everybody who is a commander should have energy a part of their annual description of their job performance,”

“The current society that we have in the Army sees energy management as an additional duty rather than a primary duty. Fortunately, we now have many, many commanders’ attention.”

Danny Gore, the Coast Guard’s energy program manager:

“the Coast Guard spent about $200 million in 2006 and is projected to spend about $280 million on energy consumption, about two-thirds of that is for tactical vehicles, and about one-third for facility energy.” Plus $50 million on energy projects awards, bringing the total to $330 million for 2007. 3 billion site-delivered BTUs, $87 million projected facility fuel and utility spending.

“By entering into an MOA with DOD and using DESC contracts, we were able to save $60 million this fiscal year or in FY’06 on fuel spending or avoid that.”

renewable energy initiatives [he admits that renewables are expensive]: a landfill gas project working at Curtis-based shipyard, Baltimore,. methane from the landfill will be used for turbine cogeneration and steam plant, equivalent to [when finished] about 5.5 percent of Coast Guard electricity load.

wind turbine feasibility studies occurring right now in Puerto Rico and Massachusetts, maybe one with the Air Force, North Carolina, New Jersey, Alaska.

solar projects in Petaluma, California [already exists, 176 MWh] , another one is being developed in Hawaii.”

Brian Lally is the executive director in Headquarters for Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency:

[facility energy] “about $1.1 billion, 73.5 trillion BTUs – about 81 percent of that comes from natural gas and electricity in terms of the total consumption; about 87 percent of it comes from the combination – in terms of cost – comes from the combination of natural gas and electricity. But as a percentage of the total Air Force budget of some $7 billion in terms of energy use, 18 percent of that is facility energy, 2 percent ground, and the rest of it is aviation. And that is one area where we are making significant strides forward.

He mentioned synfuel test on B-52. But what important is that he said this year the USAF is going to test synfuel on C-17, a large cargo aircraft.

On facility energy consumption: “we are trying to reduce demand, so the demand side conservation, supply side assurance to improve our security and get off of fossil fuels, and then create a culture within the Air Force where every airman considers energy as a part of everything we do. So demand, supply, and culture are the biggest things.

The four main pillars of this strategy is that we know we need to focus on the current infrastructure; have to improve our future infrastructure with sustainable design; expanding renewables…..We’ve got to spend a lot of money to get there.

only 25 percent of the commodity that we pay for is the commodity – 25 percent of the electrical cost to us is the actual kilowatt. The rest of it is fees, transportation charges, demand charges, and late fees.

We created a culture during those timeframes where we had to save; we had to conserve. We published our goals; we published our strategies. We rewarded our people.

One of the first things we did in solar energy was to build a solar house at the United States Air Force Academy in 1972.

We have to focus on more than just facilities…82% of our total bill comes from aviation side.” He also admits that renewables are expensive, and costs are outpacing reductions.

Bill Browning, member of the Defense Science Board:

He talked about LEED platinum project and zero-energy buildings (a building that is able to produce more energy than it consumes on an annual basis, still connected to the grid, but doing that on a – typically on a site basis), and net-zero plus for forward operating bases.

VERY SHORT summary: renewable energy resources are expensive, mobility fuel consumption is more important than facility energy consumption, energy efficiency and conservation require utmost importance.

Tags: Military Energy Consumption, Alternative Fuels, Department of Defense, US Military, US Air Force, US Army, US Navy, Military Oil Consumption

[1] Note that this year the CNA Corporation brought together eleven retired three-star and four-star admirals and generals to prepare the study “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change.” The study states that global climate change presents a serious national security threat which could impact Americans at home, impact US military operations and heighten global tensions, and is a threat multiplier in already fragile regions, exacerbating conditions that lead to failed states.


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